La Sonriente is not a bottle we carry at the restaurant. It’s a Trader Joe’s pick and not half bad. If you factor in the $7.00 price tag it’s damn near amazing, punching way above it’s weight. I had it at a family dinner Sunday night and during a lull when my sons and their cousins were grousing about having to clear the table and do the dishes (aside from lawn mowing that is why you have children,) I noticed the blurb on the back of the bottle.
“The best vineyards of Calatayud are situated high on the hillsides, where, despite the poor gravelly soil, the vines produce the finest grapes possible in this arid and desolate region. Only the ripest clusters are chosen, thus producing a wine of considerable depth and finesse including intense aromas of sweet cherries and dark plums.”
I’m sure that’s true. Hillsides are the best places to grow grapes. Too much sunlight leads to a flabby wine – little to no acidity. Too little and the wine is bitter and under ripe. The slope allows but shortens sun exposure. Rocky soil forces the vines to work. It “stresses” the vines in the industry jargon. This is a good thing. You get more concentrated flavor.
But note what the blurb says.
“The best vineyards…etc.” It never ties that statement back to La Sonriente. It doesn’t claim that that La Sonriente is the product of those vineyards, just that those vineyards produce the best wines in the region.
Calatayud isn’t known for expensive wines. I’m sure there are some but after a quick search the most expensive I can find comes in at $39.99. At $7.00 are we really getting the product of the “best vineyards?” That’s valley floor prices most places.
If I bought USDA Grade D beef and it said on the label, “Beef fans the world over hail Kobe beef for it’s tenderness and the fullness of flavor of Japan’s most famous grass fed cattle.” It wouldn’t be wrong. It’s a statement of fact. That is has nothing to do with the Grade D beef I’m buying is besides the point. (For the record I would live on stale Pop Tarts and yesterdays cold coffee before I bought Grade D beef.)
Is that what’s happening on the La Sonriente label? If so it’s brilliant.
If it is I am now a huge fan of that winery. You have to admire chutzpah.